Posted on January 10th, 2012
You know how sometimes, people suck? You know those days when you look at the world and go, “How did we even get this far? We’re shallow and violent and self-centred. We hurt each other and we waste and we destroy and WE SUCK.”
Then there are those other days: the days where you’re reminded that humanity is freakin’ amazing.
Today I did not go to school, because I didn’t really sleep last night. Rarely in my life have I had insomnia, but suddenly it was like my body forgot how to sleep. Even though I didn’t feel anxious in my mind, my physical self was in the grip of unplaceable jitters.
This happened on Saturday, too, but for only a couple hours (instead of five) and I chalked it up to “going back to school” syndrome. The first day back at school was fine, so I have no idea what last night was about. I guess I have to get accustomed to myself no longer always being quite the self I used to be.
Anyway, boring story. Today, I slept in but am still rather out-of-it. I felt I was up to the task of [beginning the work of] cleaning out my inbox. I found this fantastic TED Talk, originally sent to me last April by my musical father-in-law, about Eric Whitacre and his virtual choir – and I’d never watched it. I usually don’t think I have time to watch things when I receive them, but this one reminded me that sometimes it really is worth the fifteen minutes.
I cried watching it. Not that it’s so surprising – I am somewhat sleep-deprived… and there’s no question that in the last six months, tears are always closer to the surface for me.
But this is just plain awesome. I’ve written a lot about music and its power and importance. I know first-hand how incredible and transformative it can be to make music with other people. I believe strongly that it makes us better, both as a species and as our own selves.
This is a perfect example: take that power, and combine it with the potential uniting force of the internet, and you get this. An individually self-chosen community of people who love to sing beautiful music, and want to give it back to the world. Seemingly random souls, with their bedhead and their earphones and their baseball caps, coming together from countries all over the world, just singing.
I dare you not to be moved.
Here’s the full version of the second song, called Sleep:
It made me think of Ze Frank’s Chillout song, created in the same way but on a smaller scale. (I’ve linked to this one before in my Top 10 Pick-Me-Ups, but it bears re-linking.) The story of how he – and a whole crowd of strangers – just up and brewed this simple, beautiful thing when one of his fans wrote to tell him about what a rough time she was having… well, it’s worth many, many points in the “humankind rocks the casbah” column.
Makes me wish I had a whole lifetime to spend just on discovering all the ways that humans spread love and awesomeness through music – and joining in.